Injury Recovery Training

Core Training

My name is Liz DeMoss I am an occupational therapist (OTR) living in Montana and a remote Gate 9 Running Crew Member. My background is a 2016 BS degree in Exercise Science from IU and a 2018 MSOT degree also from IU. I created an October Core/Pelvic Floor exercise routine and Sue would like me to share with you all!

Liz DeMoss Racing

We all know why core is important especially as runners. It keeps and maintains our upright posture during all activities. If you have ever been at a race finish line you have seen runners running in hunched over with shoulders rolled forward and hips completely unstable. This is due to a weak core that was probably completely fatigued by mile 5. What many people don’t know is that our pelvic muscles or pelvic floor is part of the core and almost always the weakest link for both men and women. To put it simply, the pelvic floor helps absorb shock especially when running, jumping, or lifting. Basically, it takes a huge beating if you are an athlete which makes it no surprise that a study in 2002 found that nearly 44% of all female athletes experience some type of urine leakage while exercising due to weak core and pelvic floor muscles. Another common side effect of a weak core and/or pelvic floor includes pelvic pain that can feel like hip/back pain which is common in runners.

The exercises that I have shared are labeled Monday, Wednesday, and Friday workouts but they can be completed any day just try to give at least one day of rest between the exercises. These are also meant to be therapy type exercises so think slow and great form rather than fast and high intensity. 

Many of the exercises also involve performing a pelvic floor contraction or “kegel”. To perform a proper kegel you will tighten or contract the muscles that you would use to stop urination midstream. Make sure you completely relax the muscles before performing another rep.  A typical pelvic floor therapy goal is to hold 10 kegels for 10 seconds each which is a bigger challenge than it sounds!

By completing pelvic floor work with regular core work you are engaging the entire core and making it stronger as a unit which will allow you to recruit and prolong the endurance of the core for a longer period during exercise. 


If you have noticed that you have had excessive pelvic pain or urine/fecal leakage while exercising look into getting in to your local pelvic floor therapist who can tailor therapy to exactly your needs and weaknesses. A quick search shows that in Bloomington IU Health has a pelvic health rehab program!

Monday Core Work
Wednesday Core Work
Friday Core Workout
Friday Core Continued
Injury Recovery

Gelatin for Tendon Injury and Health

I have run (every pun intended) with lots of injured athletes.  Most athletes with tendon injuries do the standard protocols.  Many of them haven’t heard about the research and benefits of using gelatin for tendon injury and health.  The best part?  The protocol is cheap and easy.  The info below is based on the work of Keith Baar Ph.D., a molecular exercise physiologist.  I had an opportunity to hear him speak on epigenetics and athletics at the ACSM conference.

Here is a very readable article on his work: Harness the Power of Your Muscle Matrix.  Also check out this article on Using Gelatin…  Asker Jeukendrop does a great job explaining complex nutrition research in a way that is easy to understand and apply.

Podcast interview: Keith Baar, PhD – Tendon Stiffness, Collagen Production & Gelatin for Performance & Injury

His recommendation for tendon injuries: 10-15g of gelatin with >50mg of vitamin C one hour before training.  Elites use it as a drink but you can use shot blocks too.  You then do six minutes of exercise loading (skip rope, eccentric heel lowering etc.). Repeat every six hours.

Dr. Baar hypothesizes that it may help athletes to use it to prevent further injuries.

I have noticed in some of my non-athletic reading that people are biohacking by using hydrolyzed collagen and canned oysters to help with aging and prevent injuries.  Same reason people are consuming bone broth however that can lead to them to consuming too much lead.

This reminds me of the line about athletes.  There are only two kinds of (insert your sport here); those who are injured and those who will be injured.

No easy way!

Injury Recovery

Diary of the Treatment of a Calf Strain

A plan to help you recover from a muscle or tendon strain.

Since a few people have asked, I thought I would detail how I overcame my calf strain a few weeks before my A race (to end up winning my age group at Ironman Louisville). First and foremost, I STOPPED RUNNING when the strain happened during my last long run.  I could have kept going but I decided the “walk of shame” was worth recovering in time for my big race.

Immediately (please note, I am not a medical professional.  I highly suggest you connect with your own physicians regarding your treatment plan):

  • Ibuprofen (800mg) around the clock for the first 48 hours
  • ART (Active Release Technique) within 24 hours for calf and posterior chain. Continued treatments Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Ice cups (fill paper cups with water, freeze, and then rub over calf for fifteen minutes).  Alternate ice and heat (hot tub) after 48 hours.
  • Stick for self massage (focus on whole calf, not just acute injury area)
  • Calf sleeve for compression
  • Wore my highest drop (heel height much higher than forefoot height) running shoes for walking and moving.  This provided less stress on the calf and achilles.

As soon as the acute pain was reduced, we (Coach, Physician and ART Chiropractor) slowly introduced a very limited amount of easy running on a treadmill with no incline. We also implemented a focused program on various exercises for my calf as well as everything two joints above my calf (hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, knee, hip/lower back etc.).

Here is the list of exercises.  It looks overwhelming but really takes 20-30 minutes at most.  I started each exercise with minimum time or reps.  I executed daily and increased time and reps accordingly.

  • Monster walks for time
  • Side monster walks for time
  • Foam roll glutes
  • Foam roll hamstrings
  • Foam roll calves
  • Eccentric hamstring raises (up on a two count/down on a six count)
  • Clam shells
  • Single knee pull up while lying down on the floor
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Piriformos stretch
  • Eccentric heel focused raises (up on two feet, down on one) on a step.  Very gently!
  • Gentle angles ankle board stretches
  • Big toe pulls with band.  Feet should be angled out.
  • Towel scrunches.  With bare feet, pull a towel towards you by scrunching.
  • Alphabet.  Write the alphabet with your feet while seated on a couch.  Forwards and backwards.
  • Stick to massage hamstrings
  • Stick to massage calves

We continued Ibuprofen only at bedtime for approximately a week.  I am having a therapeutic massage focusing on my back once per week and have added a core program 3x per week.

The good part about an injury is that it reminded me how lucky I am to be able to do the sport I love.  I do not take this journey for granted.  If you have any questions, you can reach me at

Some questions I have received after I published this article:

When your calf was strained, what did you do instead of running?  Elliptical?

No, I did not elliptical.  After a few days we added very short, very easy runs on the treadmill.  I would stop if there was any sharp pain.  I was amazed how well I was able to run at Louisville despite the limited running before the race.  Trust the process.  Your run will be there on race day.

How did you manage your bike workouts?

Bike I would do as tolerated but avoided big gear or lots of climbing.  I would make sure your cleats are new and properly positioned on your shoes.  It can be very helpful to your calf and achilles to push the cleat as far towards your heel as possible.

Did you just swim with a pull buoy all the time?

With swimming, I either just swam or used the pull buoy.  No kicking drills and no using that leg to push off the wall.  Fortunately, I have a 50 meter outdoor pool near my house which reduces the number of flip turns.